Paying It Forward: Lisa and Gary Gilbert Inducted Into Dunham Legacy Society

Paying It Forward: Lisa and Gary Gilbert Inducted Into Dunham Legacy Society

May 27, 2022

The Dunham School is excited to announce that Lisa and Gary Gilbert were formally inducted as the first members of The Dunham Legacy at our inaugural Founders Dinner on April 29, 2022. The Dunham Legacy Society was established in 2020 to honor donors who have included The Dunham School in their estate plans.

Lisa and Gary Gilbert’s journey with The Dunham School began more than 20 years ago when they enrolled their daughter in kindergarten. Now the parents of two alumni, Claire ’13 and Dylan ’15, the Gilberts are unequivocal in acknowledging that God pointed them to Dunham.

Gary, a practicing architect with Coleman Partners in Baton Rouge, and Lisa, who works in commercial property management, both attended and graduated from public schools. So, when it came time to find a school for Claire and Dylan, they naturally assumed their children would be a part of the public school system as well.

After researching their options, however, they felt something was lacking. Access to strong academics, athletics, and the arts simply wasn’t enough. While they knew they wanted an educational environment where the curriculum would be determined by qualified educators, the couple came to recognize the importance of a biblical worldview as well as the critical role that a community of godly teachers, coaches, and administrators would play in their children’s growth and development, two factors they say they only found at Dunham. 

At the same time, they began to look for young men and women whom they felt most closely reflected the type of young adults they desired their children to be. They didn’t have to look too far as many attended their church, The Chapel. 

“Ultimately, those kids – no exaggeration – all seemed to be Dunham students or alumni,” says Gary.

After enrolling first Claire and then Dylan at Dunham, Lisa and Gary became fully engaged in numerous volunteer efforts at the school. In addition, Gary served on the school’s board of trustees, including more than a decade as board chair.

When asked to reflect on what the school has meant to their family, the Gilberts say it has been both a gift and a privilege to be counted among other Dunham families who have been given the tools to live“set apart” in accordance with scripture. 

Another word that comes quickly to mind is“faithful”.  The Gilberts experienced from day one not only the Lord’s faithfulness to the school, but also the faithfulness of Dunham’s administration and faculty who came alongside their children right where they were to instruct and encourage them to become exactly who God designed them to be.

And what their children are doing now confirms that. 

“Dunham has always been and remains one of the few opportunities for families to educate their children with the heart and mind of Christ and to learn to view the world through a biblical lens rather than a self-serving and individualist lens,” they explain. “When we first enrolled our children at Dunham, we were warned that when they left ‘the Dunham bubble,’ they would not be prepared for the real world. Little did those naysayers know, the biblical worldview our children received has allowed them to confidently step out into the world recognizing what is real and what is not.”

Claire, who now lives in Dallas, and Dylan, who lives in Cincinnati with wife Maia, concur, reporting that their Dunham experience has given them the confidence to step into any situation without fear, knowing that with reliance upon the one true God who loves them, with diligence, and with commitment, they can achieve anything. 

“As their parents, especially as now they’re out in the real world, this means everything,” says Lisa.

Convinced their children will carry the gift of a Dunham education into the next generation, Lisa and Gary were motivated to explore planned and estate giving as a means of ensuring that future generations of students would have the same opportunities. Last year, they became the first members of The Dunham Legacy Society by naming the school as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. 

The legacy giving approach, whether through insurance policies, annuities, bequests, charitable trusts, or other planned giving options achieves two important goals. First, it leverages today’s dollars for a significantly higher return in the future, and second, it sets aside resources for use by those who will come next—those who may need those resources.

The Gilberts designated their legacy gift in support of pastoral staff children. “You might call it somewhat of a return on The Chapel’s investment,” explains Gary. “The Dunham School began when God placed a desire in the hearts of several families who attended The Chapel decades ago, and the school’s very first location was in the LSU location’s Sunday School rooms. Dunham’s first leaders and teachers were devoted members and staff of that congregation. So, practically speaking, it’s important that ministry families continue to be part of the school’s culture.”

Lisa and Gary encourage other parents of alumni looking for a way to give back to consider making a legacy gift. “After all,”Gary says, “we’re done paying tuition! Let’s continue to invest in the future.”

Thank you to Lisa and Gary Gilbert for their years of service to and support of The Dunham School. For more information on becoming a member of the Dunham Legacy Society, please visit our planned giving webpage or contact the development office at 225-767-7097 ext. 355.

We can't wait to welcome you!